Emotional intelligence as a moderator of coping strategies and service outcomes in circumstances of service failure

Mark Gabbott*, Yelena Tsarenko, Wai Hoe Mok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Superior customer service has always been recognized as a source of competitive advantage. But as the economic environment becomes more challenging, as switching costs become lower, and many service brands are experiencing difficulties, there is a compelling need to focus upon the quality of the customer experience in order to maintain competitive positioning. This is particularly important in those circumstances where services fail. Drawing upon the notion of the customer as a cocreator of his/her own service experience, this article examines the role of a specific set of customer resources referred to as emotional intelligence (EI) in shaping customer response to a specific set of circumstances: service failure. The results show that the level of EI does predict consumer responses to service failure in terms of customer satisfaction and behavioral intentions. Customer EI is identified as an important consideration for service managers in understanding how customers respond to service failure and service recovery efforts. These results highlight the need for managers to consider EI as a discriminating customer variable in circumstances where emotions and emotional management are prevalent. This innate individual resource needs to be recognized in more generalized service research involving interpersonal interaction, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-248
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • coping
  • emotional intelligence
  • service failure
  • service recovery


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